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Yes (2004)

Cast: Joan Allen, Joan Allen, Simon Abkaryan, more...
Director: Sally Potter, Sally Potter
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Columbia TriStar
Genre: Drama, Foreign, British Drama, UK
Running Time: 100 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: French
    see additional details...

Filmmaker Sally Potter directed this artful meditation on the dynamics of the romantic and sexual relationship. She (Joan Allen) is an intelligent and gifted genetic scientist of Irish-American heritage who feels smothered in her marriage to a British politician (Sam Neill). While dining at a friend's house, She meets He (Simon Abkarian), a handsome Lebanese exile who was a respected surgeon in his homeland but now supports himself in London as a cook. He flirts with her, and She is pleased with his advances; weeks later, she contacts him, and an affair begins. However, despite their mutual attraction, He and She find it difficult to set aside their political and national differences for very long, as love and lust wage a quiet war against the conscience and the intellect. Yes also features supporting performances from Shirley Henderson and Sheila Hancock. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

Yes is hardly a run-of-the-mill love story, but then, director Sally Potter has never been one to play by the rules. In an exclusive interview for GreenCine, Hannah Eaves talks with Potter and her two leads, Simon Abkarian and Joan Allen, about love and anger in a post-9/11 world - and about optimism. Full Article >>

GreenCine Member Reviews

A use for pentameter rhyme by chadstep March 5, 2006 - 11:47 AM PST
I seem to recall in my college days saying, "Who ever could write in pentameter rhyme in this day and age?" Shakespearean magic performed incredibly and impossible to imitate--was I ever wrong.

This multicultural, British love story defies the possibility of the poetic form--entirely in pentameter, set among the diverse array of modern London, and a fantastic genre-escaping story. It slightly relates to "Dirty Pretty Things" in its view of ethnicity in a metropolis, but it moves beyond simple plot-twistification. Beauty of language advised.

Maybe? Well, not so much I guess. by dropjohnson November 23, 2005 - 3:28 PM PST
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
One review that I have read for Sally Potter's Yes calls it "A film of startling banality." Indeed it is not that so much as a film with grandiose designs yet marginal accomplishments. It does in some degree deal with all of the following concepts: Aging, Idealism, Belief, Faith, Communism, Capitalism, Terrorism, Love, Passion, Christianity, Islam, Infidelity, Politics, Class, Sexism, Racism, Self-Image, Cultural Self-Image, and there are probably more (some of the items on the list may seem redundant, but Yes treats all of these items as separate but intertwined entities). All are worthy subjects but the light that Potter sheds on them is minimal indeed.

The dialog is written and spoken in iambic pantameter, the verse of Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe. It is a stunt that succeeds, much like Yes itself, in equal measure with its failures. The camera work (esp. the artifacting slow motion) can be distracting as can the device of having certain characters address the camera. Yes ultimately feels like a grad school project and is likely to infuriate you just as much as it entices you...

Absolutely! by talltale November 13, 2005 - 8:05 AM PST
3 out of 5 members found this review helpful
What a treat to hear rhyme--intelligent rhyme, performed mostly expertly--in a movie! You can't call writer/director Sally Potter's YES anywhere near mainstream, so unless you like a challenge along with your entertainment, forget about it. (The reviews posted on a competing site are "all or nothing": viewers either love the movie or hate it.) Potter is said to have made this film in reaction to 9/11. Whatever. You may find allusions to that event here, but YES stands on its own, in any case.

Theatrical to a fault, and all the more fun for being so, Potter's film tosses about ideas on men, women, life, death, love, sex, politics, the workplace, cultures and responsibility with panache and meaning. I could have wished for a few less of those stop-motion shots (this director doesn't need excess style); other than that, I found the film thoughtful, riveting and highly enjoyable.

Joan Allen, Simon Abkarian, Sam Neill and the ubiquitous Shirley Henderson handle the verbiage and emoting with fine flair. Henderson, who is particularly piquant here, is the first and most important in a series of cleaning ladies whose quiet, direct looks at us in the audience speak volumes. The photography by Aleksei Rodionov is standout, too. That scene in the cool white dining room with holiday bee lights all 'round and Allen and Neil at opposite sides of the frame: Stunning.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.17)
30 Votes
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